Jo Ann Lorden

Jo Ann Lorden was born in Seattle Washington, the only child of parents Fred Grant and Lillian Gaskill. Her parents divorced when she was a young child and her mother married Harry Norman. They were both anxious to leave the rainy Northwest and moved to Pismo Beach where they purchased beachfront property and built the Edgewater Motel in 1947. This was the first motel in Pismo Beach.

Jo Ann always maintained that she was forced against her will to move to California with her parents. While she never gave up her loyalty to the state of Washington, she evidently overcame her objections and happily graduated with her friends from San Luis Obispo high school. She later married Jerry Gaskill and several years later they welcomed a daughter, Jerri Ann. Their marriage ended in a divorce in 1963.

In August 1964 Jo Ann married Jerry Lorden (yes, another Jerry!) The two had a wonderful, loving marriage of almost sixty years until Jo Ann’s death of cancer on June 17. They had two children, a daughter Lisa and a son Matt.

Jo Ann worked outside the home when the children were older and had a variety of jobs but her absolute favorite was the ten years she spent as the school secretary at Cleveland and Franklin elementary schools. This job gave her opportunity to mother hundreds of students that might need a pat on the back, a hug or maybe just a band-aid.  If any job could be a perfect fit for an individual, this was it.

After she and Jerry retired they enjoyed travel with family and friends to many interesting places. These were very special years filled with many happy memories for them both.

How can you possibly describe a person in a few sentences? The truth is you can’t but in Jo Ann’s case you can come very close by saying that she simply loved people – young or old, big or small. She had time for anyone. She cared. The greater your need the more time she had for you.

She cherished old friends and the special relationships that existed for fifty years or more with families like the Reyburns and Hagens. 

She loved animals, particularly horses, cats and any other species that could be picked up and cuddled. Sloths in Costa Rica were okay; iguanas in Puerto Vallarta not so much.

She loved music, jazz and big band swing most of all.

She was simply a wonderful, loving person. Just days before her death she and Jerry had time to hold each other and recall what a happy and fortunate life they had enjoyed together.

Jo Ann leaves behind a grieving family of her husband Jerry, her three children, Jerri Pollard (Mike); Lisa (Jay Hinkle); Matt Lorden and twin granddaughters Samantha and Jessica Lorden. She also leaves a part of our extended family, Brian and Karen Hastings and their children, Christopher and Kiara. Also, her beloved cat Abby.

At Jo Ann’s request there will be no formal services.  Her ashes will be scattered in the Santa Barbara Channel.  If anyone feels they want to make a donation in her name, her favorites are the SB Humane Society, A.S.A.P. or Planned Parenthood.


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